Welcome back to PSA Thursday, a mostly-weekly segment in which we talk about how to handle money, work, and life in the middle of a pandemic.
This week, we explore a question that many landlords in our community have asked in recent months: what do we do when our tenants can’t pay the rent, and our bills are due?
To answer this, we asked Alieza Durana, a journalist who works with the Eviction Lab at Princeton University, for her expertise. The Princeton Eviction Lab is a group that rigorously researches the causes and consequences of the affordable housing crisis, housing instability, and the impact of evictions.
On this episode, Alieza shares data that Princeton has gathered on evictions. She also offers tips for landlords who want to be part of the solution, but struggle with the reality of having their own bills to pay.
Here are the points that we discuss and the questions that we explore:
- How many people are impacted by evictions across America?
- Why evictions aren’t just a “big city” issue
- How likely is it that someone will be evicted multiple times?
- The common causes for eviction
- Do some states have more evictions than others?
- Surprising data, such as the fact that most tenants are usually evicted for less than one month’s rent
- How can mom and pop landlords help be part of the solution?
- Support rent relief policies – call representatives
- Start an open line of communication with tenants
- What do you do when a tenant is unable to pay rent?
- How can you avoid evictions for non-financial reasons? (Undisclosed pet or lease violations)
- Is it preferable to terminate a lease, rather than resort to an eviction?
- How can landlords financially prepare so they can accommodate tenants during this time?
- Would it help to have tighter requirements when screening tenants?
- A final word on what landlords can do to improve the current system
If you enjoyed this PSA episode, stay tuned for the next one. We’ll continue the discussion with what you can do as a mom and pop landlord to both manage and help your tenants during this difficult time.
- Clearing the Record: How Eviction Sealing Laws Can Advance Housing Access for Women of Color | ACLU
- Many Renters Who Face Eviction Owe Less Than $600 | The New York Times
- Forced Displacement From Rental Housing | Study by Matthew Desmond and Tracey Shollenberger on Milwaukee renters
Resources from The Eviction Lab
- Just Shelter
- Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
- Eviction Map & Data
- COVID-19 Housing Policy Scorecard (tracks eviction moratoria and other COVID-related housing policies at the state level)
- Eviction Tracking System